Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Christian Social Thought

Wilfred McClay on friendship new and old

What is friendship? What does it mean to be or to have a friend? And why does Aristotle consider friendship a virtue and an important for political life? Wilfred McClay has a nice essay on friendship at the Hedgehog Review, where he reflects on the title of the song “My New, Old Friend.” McClay writes that he initially did not like the idea of a “new old friend,” first because true friendship is rare and takes time to develop, and second because of the increasingly diluted meaning of the word friend. Continue Reading...

Sohrab Ahmari’s biggest mistake

The debate between Sohrab Ahmari and David French has sparked a useful conversation about the means and ends of liberty. In that discussion, both men make valid criticisms and both sometimes fall short, but a recent column by Ahmari reveals perhaps the most glaring error in his perspective. Continue Reading...

Can a big bad state deliver us from evil?

Thirty five years ago the American novelist Thomas Pynchon asked the question, “Is It O.K. To Be A Luddite?” The occasion was the then 25th anniversary of C.P. Snow’s Rede Lecture, “The Two Cultures of the Scientific Revolution,” which argued, way back in 1959, that our culture was increasingly polarized into “literary” and “scientific” factions unable to understand each other. Continue Reading...

The importance of searching for truth

“What is truth?” This question Pontius Pilate asked Christ moments before the Crucifixion is, in my opinion, the question that the rest of the Gospels spend answering. It is the reason why Jesus gives no specific answer to Pilate in John 18, and instead simply stands there as the answer Himself. Continue Reading...

The ‘King of Israel’: The Caesar strategy or cultural renewal?

President Donald Trump ignited a national debate when he shared a comment referring to him by the messianic title of the “King of Israel.” Whatever this says about President Trump, it unintentionally revealed a great deal about Western Christians’ commitment to salvation by politics, and it brought to the surface a long-simmering question we must answer: Will we pursue cultural renewal through the sustained preaching and incarnation of the Gospel, or will we turn to a secular ruler for deliverance? Continue Reading...